Big Think: George Takei

From the clip recap:

Actor, activist, prolific meme-generator, and cultural icon George Takei graces Big Think with his presence today in this powerful 5-minute clip. Takei explores Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s ambitious and progressive vision for the future: “Roddenberry felt that the Enterprise was a metaphor for starship earth and the strength of this starship lay in its diversity.” We also learn that Takei’s character, Sulu, represented a united Asia free of the many strifes Roddenberry witnessed during the 20th century. Takei tells us how the name “Sulu” came about; it’s an incredibly inspirational story. Finally, Takei explains the now-glaring omission of gay and lesbian characters from Roddenberry’s progressive Enterprise. In short, it was the 1960’s and the biracial kiss between Uhura and Kirk nearly sank the show. Roddenberry knew there were limits to what the public would tolerate and he couldn’t risk losing his platform for social commentary by testing them. Thankfully, as Takei notes, times have changed quite a bit since then in so many ways. And Star Trek and Gene Roddenberry are partly responsible.

  • TommyTune

    One of the best teachable moments in that show, IMO, was the episode in which inhabitants of an alien planet comprised of people who were white on one side of their bodies and black on the other were killing themselves off. The crew of the Enterprise couldn’t figure out why there was so much animosity among these people until it was explained to them that some of these people were white on their right side while their enemies were white on their left side, underscoring the ridiculousness of hating people because of their skin color.

    • Gustav2

      • TommyTune

        Thats the one!

      • Eebadee-eebadee-thatsallfolks

        Guest starring Frank Gorshin, better known as the Riddler on Batman.

    • John30013

      I get what Roddenberry was trying to do in that episode, but it sucked (as did most of the 3rd season shows).

  • lymis

    Times have indeed changed, and mostly for the better. I’ll stand with George about Roddenberry’s vision and how it plays out in actual modern society.

    Star Trek itself, however, hasn’t gotten a whole lot better than its roots. We still have never seen an unambiguously gay character, much less one portrayed positively, and the few storylines that dealt with sexual orientation were so ham-handed as to be an ongoing embarassment.

    On the sexual orientation issue, Trek lost any claim to being a frontrunner on social issues. I’ll spot the original series – and with it, Takei’s direct involvement. Later series and the newer movies have no such excuse.

    • crewman

      Every now and then they’d have a gay metaphor situation that seemed gay on the surface, but there was always a twist, like a woman kissed a woman but only because the second woman was a host for a sembiant occupying her, and that sembiant had previously been in a male host, so the love was between a man and a woman, even though the physical bodies were currently same sex.

      • Octavio

        The Killjoys has a friendly and oh-so-helpful and fashion forward gay bartender. Does that count?

        • Gustav2

          And on Defiance the hero was propositioned by a male and female couple as he walked in the bar for the first time…after that nothing.

          • John30013

            One of the E-Rep officers from last season (red hair, glasses) had a boyfriend. Not a major character, but his orientation was made quite clear.

          • Gustav2

            Forgot about that

          • John30013

            It wasn’t a big deal in the show, but he did try to get Erisa to autograph a copy of the book that other Irathian guy wrote about her “for [his] boyfriend”.

          • Octavio

            Defiance? Am unfamiliar.

        • crewman

          I don’t know that show… I would love to watch it but it looks like it’s not available in this region.

          • Gustav2

            Syfy Network

          • John30013

            Friday night block of Defiance, Killjoys, and Dark Matter.

          • Gustav2

            Worked last night, the whole block on DVR

          • John30013

            My U-Verse DVR mysteriously decided to reboot itself at the end of Killjoys and the beginning of Dark Matter. Fortunately, I was catching up on some older episodes at the time, and since both programs are rebroadcast later in the evening, I was able to re-record them.

            I DVR all three of those shows too, as well as Falling Skies (TNT) and of course Dr. Who (though I’m still a bit on the fence about the latest Doctor). There really is some decent sci-fi on TV these days (and not just on the Syfy channel).

          • Gustav2

            Your U-Verse acts like mine, hope mine are intact. I could never get into Dr Who for some reason.

          • Octavio

            It shows up on the CBC’s international channel. We get it in BsAs via satellite.

          • Octavio

            It’s also available on Chrome for $1.99.

          • Bj Lincoln

            Netflix has all the ST series and one or 2 movies.

          • JT

            I think Netflix has all the series: the original, NG, Voyager, Deep Space 9 and Enterprise.

      • you’re forgetting the one on ST:TNG about the unigender planet and the “aberrant” who had single sex attraction. it may not satisfy your standard of “obviously gay enough” but i think any 3rd grader got the point. “it” wanted to be a “she” and was harshly punished for expressing attraction to a human male, Riker. they even included the horror of reparative “therapy.”

        it was a brave & powerful ep in its day and about as far as the suits in Hollow-wood would let them get away with.

        • Bj Lincoln

          That was a good one.

        • lymis

          The only problem was that when they cured her, there were no ill effects and everything was hunky-dory. Essentially, they sided with the reparative therapy people.

          • B Snow

            I don’t agree. She seemed lobotomized after the “treatment”. Everything that made her amazing was wiped out. It showed how harmful the treatment was, that it destoyed her happiness and Riker’s as well. The ending was an indictment of a society that forbids differences and will allow the comfort of the majority to overrule a minority that simply wishes to live their own lives.

      • Bj Lincoln

        That DS9 episode is one of my favorites. There was an alternate universe episode that had an openly gay relationship in the last year of DS9 with a kiss.

        • Circ09

          It may have been all in fun but it also perpetuated the gay = deviant/evil trope to the nth degree. And that has always been the problem with Trek.

        • Nexus1

          I’ll have to look that up because I lost interest in the series when Terry Farrell left.

          • Circ09

            It was a continuation of the same alt. universe done before with Evil Vampy Kira only with Farrrell’s Trill replacement subbed in.

          • Nexus1

            Thanks.

      • JT

        But remember the worst part? When Odan, the symbiont, in a female body, wants to continue the relationship, Beverly Crusher says something like: “And what about the next change and the next? I can’t keep up with that.” It seemed like a lame excuse when the real reason was that they didn’t want even to hint that there was a physical relationship between two corporeal females.

      • Nexus1

        Yep that was Jadzia Dax. It seems rather tame now, but 20 years ago when it happened it was exciting to me as a kid. It’s silly that the last two iterations of Star Trek didn’t go further. I don’t even know if we’ll see another version on TV for a while since the last one wasn’t that great. Give me a gay Captain, male or female, who is married and has biological children with their spouse because of advancements in in vitro fertilization dammit. lol

    • Webslinger

      Agreed…from Deep Space Nine to Voyager to Enterprise and some that I am missing to the countless movies and the reboot and STILL NO GAY characters…it has been EXTREMELY disappointing…

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/62ca3a741adf5271e0ec5b8589fee66b75802eba676c020b1fe7d548a31dbe47.jpg

      • KCMC

        wasn’t there a toy named for Deep Space Nine?

    • another_steve

      Totally a “marketplace matter.” If there were a demand for queer characters in TV science fiction, they would be there.

      I don’t know who the typical consumer of TV sci-fi is, but you can be sure the producers know.

      And that typical consumer doesn’t want or need LGBT characters.

      • Reality.Bites

        And they ARE there – everywhere but in the Trek and Star Wars franchises.

        For fucks sake, Doctor Who, a fucking CHILDREN’S show, had its first LGB characters a decade ago, and the next series will have its first transgender character.

        http://www.ew.com/article/2015/08/07/doctor-who-bethany-black-transgender-role

        Technically it’s the second transgender role, but the first transgender character was a horse.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eURhm7Q0Kw

        Correction: while the actor is transgender, the character she’s playing is not.

        • John30013

          The EW article you linked to said the character would be played by a trans actor (Bethany Black), but the character is not trans.

          If you want a trans Dr. Who character, though, how about Missy (formerly the Master)? I understand she will make another appearance this season (or “series” in the BBC lingo).

          • LonelyLiberal

            I’m not sure I count Missy, per se. She was male in her past regeneration and seemed perfectly happy with it. Now she’s female in this one and seems perfectly happy with it.

            That’s more like Varley’s characters (except that they switch on a whim and most, with exceptions, have no fixed definitions).

            It’s certainly groundbreaking, and the implication is definitely there, though.

            Personally, I’m waiting for a female Doctor. I don’t think it’ll happen (he’s iconically male), but it would be great if it were done right.

          • motordog

            They did a spoofy type show that had the Doctor go through several faux regens, including Joanna Lumley as a female Doctor! How awesome would a Patsy Stone/Doctor be?

          • LonelyLiberal

            Patsy Stone would be *perfect*. I was more thinking Maggie Smith, myself. πŸ™‚

          • motordog

            Here’s a couple of pics I found…Doctor Patsy seems to be having some revelations about the sonic screwdriver!

          • Chris Dangerfield

            Dr. Patsy is such a fantabulous idea that I suspect you’ll be picked up in a phone booth shortly… for being too AbFab for earth anymore.

      • crewman

        Interesting perspective and worth keeping in mind. However, one important appeal of science fiction is that it creates a world that allows us to explore current social issues by metaphor, stripping away the knee-jerk reactions we have to the current issue, and potentially seeing it from a new perspective. At least science fiction in books has often been used that way. Science fiction TV and movies often fall more into action/adventure more than engaging thinking.

        • another_steve

          I think it’s largely a generational issue.

          Thirty or forty years from now, the average American kid will know full well that s/he has queer friends, queer relatives, etc. S/he’ll have openly gay teachers, doctors, religious leaders.

          A world without LGBT people will be unimaginable. The demand will be there, and the demand will result in LGBT sci-fi characters.

          • Circ09

            Well, I think there will certainly be QUEER storylines and characters. I’m not sure so much on exclusively gay or lesbian characters though. If I have to listen to another unimaginative showrunner say that gay limits the storytelling possibilities too much I am going to scream!

          • another_steve

            By any chance, have you been following the exquisite U.K. series “Last Tango in Halifax” that’s been airing on PBS here in the states, Circ09? If not, I highly recommend it. Some or all of the episodes may be available online.

            So as to avoid introducing a “spoiler” for anyone who might still be watching the series unfold, I won’t say anything about the specific plot line.

            But I rather think it’s an example of what you say there about the “concern” “…that gay limits the storytelling possibilities too much….”

          • Circ09

            Well, I will give spoilers because people should know what went down there. Actually, I’m the one that told you to avoid Series 3 like the plague.

            Only a blinkered, blindingly white, painfully straight woman like Sally Wainwright would think a good story would be to kill off the person on the show that transgressed the narrative the most – the very pregnant, only POC, “lesbian” character on the very day after she finally married the rich white female protagonist. Then she moved white straight middle-class cool Greg into Caroline’s house as a house-husband. And rewarded Celia & Lawrence for their terrible behavior. It was disgusting. It is even more disgusting that RED productions (along with Karen Lewis and Nicola Shindler) and the BBC actually signed off on that storyline. And truly grotesque that the mainstream audience watching didn’t even blink an eye. It proved to me once again that we have a long way to go before getting anything close to parity in the marketplace of ideas.

            But “Last Tango” has plenty of other problems, Series 3 just highlighted them in stark relief. Some writers really cannot rise above soap and Sally Wainwright has proven again that she is one of them. Shame because Series 1 was beautifully done, evenhanded TV with great characterization. And truly tremendous actors. It should have ended there.

            BTW, I recommend you watch the series through means other than PBS. They cut so much out of episodes – especially Kate/Caroline scenes – that it seriously affects the intent. They don’t just cut for language. Netflix, weirdly, shows a cut version of Series 1 but just recently changed out Series 2 to show the full uncut broadcast versions. Not sure what’s going on in the licensing for that to happen. But it happens a lot with Netflix & British TV shows.

            One guy that has taken note of Sally Wainwright’s patheticness is John Morton that does the fantastic BBC parody show W1A. He quietly skewers Last Tango in Episode 4 this past series using the same actress that played Kate on “Last Tango”. It was brilliant! You can find the episodes on Youtube if you don’t want to buy the DVDs. It is not the type of show that will ever be aired here legally. But if you take any interest in British media you will enjoy it and the previous series that parodied the efforts to create their big Olympics event show. Lots of great actors – Hugh Bonneville is the star & David Tennant narrates the Episodes.

            Sorry to rant out like this but you really touched a nerve with me on this one.

          • another_steve

            Yeah, I hear ya. (I had forgotten it was you who warned me about what was to come in Season 3. lol)

            I think the Caroline/Kate relationship was the most interesting in the series actually — so why they saw fit to end it truly escapes me. It was multi-layered and complex, and I liked that.

            I do think the other relationships in the storyline have sort of been milked for everything they’re worth. There’s a bit of repetitiveness in Season 3, particularly with regard to Gillian’s character.

            Nevertheless, it’s quality television — something we here in the States get very little of (vis-a-vis homegrown comedy and drama).

      • Reality.Bites

        Sense8
        Warehouse 13
        Orphan Black
        Torchwood
        Doctor Who
        Buffy
        Stargate Universe
        Caprica
        Teen Wolf

        As usual, you’re talking out of your ass in order to defend bigotry.

        • Eebadee-eebadee-thatsallfolks

          True. I haven’t seen all those shows but I have watched some, and they do feature GLBT characters very unambiguously. Impressive list.

        • John30013

          I’d add The Walking Dead (at least since last season), Killjoys, and Defiance (last season anyway).

          • motordog

            I just started watching a BBC 2013 show called “In the Flesh”. It’s an interesting take on the zombie genre…it takes place after the apocalypse, and a lot of the zombies have been ‘cured’ (or at least can control their urges), though they need medication and are still treated with suspicion and hostility. What makes it relevant to this discussion is that the main character is a young gay man. I like it the more I watch it, but it sadly only has 9 episodes.

          • John30013

            I’ll have to see if I can find it. Sounds interesting.

        • Ray Taylor

          Sense8 is Hot.

          • Webslinger
          • JT

            This scene is incredible!

          • DonnaLee

            Oh damn! OK that I didn’t expect to see in that show, thought it was going to be all about action and such. Didn’t expect they’d go into that kind of action!

        • JT

          True Blood has gay characters in it and even more gay sex between characters usually hetero inclined. Unfortunately, some of these encounters are just dreams or hallucination, but they’re hot. Several seasons are available on Amazon Prime.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAbTJ4V5mm0

          • DonnaLee

            One of the first series which had not one but several bisexuals, very nice.

      • Mark

        I vaguely recall a NG episode in which the alien characters were ‘programmed’ to be asexual – and if they began feeling male or female, they were forcibly reprogrammed.. or something like that….

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Outcast_%28Star_Trek:_The_Next_Generation%29

        • John30013

          Well, the norm in that society was “agender” (absence of gender), not “asexual” (absence of sexuality)–but some people were born more “male” or “female” and attracted to those of the “opposite” gender, and if they were found out then they were forcibly reprogrammed.

          • Mark

            You’re right….agender. I read through the notes and it’s interesting that Riker felt the alien should have been more male looking.

        • lymis

          Yes, that was TNG’s “gay” episode – and the end of it was that the character who found herself gendered got forcibly cured and was just fine with it.

          I could have marginally been okay with it if the “cure” had involved some serious impairment and the “they’re better off this way than being an outcast” idea, to which Our Heroes could react with horror. But no. Sexual orientation is curable, and everyone will be happier cured.

          Worse than ignoring the topic.

          • motordog

            I got the impression that the gender-cure treatment also acted as behavior modification. It wasn’t that the character was willingly ‘fine’ with it, they were forced/programmed to be ‘fine’ with it, Stepford style…an emotional lobotomy, as it were.

            Though I agree that the episode was a disappointment…just give us a gay character, already! It’s really getting embarrassing for them the longer they take to getting around to it. Way to stay on the socio-political edge, Star Trek overlords!

          • Mark

            And i have to wonder – how would that character “act”? What if there were zero ‘mannerisms’ – just the basic fact of gay (husband, lover, etc)? Somebody, somewhere is gonna bitch the character wasn’t gay enough!

          • motordog

            Oh, no doubt…you can’t please all the fans all the time. If he/she is too ‘straight acting’, then it’s viewed as a straightwashing, if he/she is too flamboyant/butch respectively, then the character is a tired stereotype. I suppose a balance is best?

          • Mark

            Trying to find that balance is making me dizzy! πŸ™‚

          • motordog

            indeed!

          • motordog

            Though, thinking on it, I think Capt. Jack Harkness was a pretty good balance. He was classically heroic, charismatic, and believably omni-sexual.

      • lymis

        I don’t argue that it’s not a marketplace matter. But I’ve never said it had to be a main character. A recurring tertiary character like a nurse or engineer or recurring back up helm operator would still make the point.

        But even if they say “we’ve done the research, and gay characters just wouldn’t be popular” they then need to shut up about how visionary and forward their shows are, because they aren’t.

        Pick one. You have an inclusive vision of the future and are a leader in cutting-edge social awareness, or you’re a slave to the media marketing focus groups. You can’t claim one while doing the other – especially not when almost all the competition has made the other choice.

        • another_steve

          Not really disagreeing with you, lymis.

          There’s the “ideal world” and there’s the “real world.” Corporate America operates in the latter.

          I always use this to illustrate how I view this stuff:

          If Starbucks started losing customers and money as a result of the company’s pro-LGBT outreach and advertising campaigns, the outreach and the campaigns would cease.

          Overnight, they would cease.

          If, instead, their focus groups suggested that corporate profits would be maximized by reaching out to fundamentalist Evangelicals, every cup of latte they sold would include a plastic swizzle stick depicting Jesus Christ on the cross.

          I guarantee you. πŸ˜‰

        • JT

          It’s not just a matter of not being visionary. It’s simply unrealistic not to have gay characters in ST since the society depicted is hundreds of years in the future. Surely by then there would be no difficulties over sexuality. Depicting such a time without showing that is simply laughable.

    • John30013

      I’m willing to give Star Trek–at least up to the latest “reboot” movies–a pass. Next Generation aired in the 1990s–the height of DADT and DOMA. As another poster (Crewman) noted, they did manage to tackle the issue of “alternative” sexualities a couple of times, albeit in an oblique, sci-fi context (but it was perfectly clear what they were really talking about).

      • Reality.Bites

        Starting in the 1970s, just about EVERY sitcom and drama show had a gay episode – or more. Mary Tyler Moore did it. Alice did it. (Hell, the Mary Tyler Moore show had the first ever reference to a gay wedding cake!).

        DS9, Voyager and Enterprise aired in the era of Ellen and Will & Grace.

        So no – they don’t get a pass from me.

      • lymis

        See, my point that TNG could have taken a character like Crusher’s nurse, who we only ever saw in sickbay, and somewhere around season 7 mentioned a boyfriend. She, or characters like her, could simply have mentioned a girlfriend, or been among the people in the background in Ten-Forward, having a romantic moment with a same-sex partner, just like all the other background people in opposite sex pairs were doing.

        I’m not saying they needed to make a gay main character, nor that single “special issue” storylines making a big deal of the matter would be the answer. It would have been a more powerful statement to just have some of their background characters just be gay.

        • Nexus1

          Crusher was always left as a potential love interest for Picard though, so she had to almost always be ‘available’ for him. She was supposed to be pining away for him to figure things out and be with her. It was a running theme throughout the length of the series, the ‘will they or won’t they’ story within the series. It was just as maddening that they hinted around Picard and Guinan (played by Whoopi Goldberg) having a relationship, but never had the guts to fully go their either. DS9 had the guts to at least pursue interracial relationships more. That kind of sums it up though, they were gun shy until the mid 90’s on interracial relationships, same sex ones were a pipe dream at that point.

          • Circ09

            I think lymis is referring to Doctor Crusher’s assistant – Nurse Alyssa Ogawa- that was never given much of a life outside of sickbay despite being in almost the entire series.

            I loved so much of TNG on first run but it doesn’t hold up very well now exactly because of their inability to be more bold – as you say- they were too gun shy.

          • Nexus1

            Upon rereading his post you are correct, I misread it. I thought that the nurse was married during the series and had a child in one of the movies, so I Googled that and I was correct. So the writers made sure she has a heterosexual storyline during the series. It really is a shame that they couldn’t at least do that with the last two versions in the 2000’s when it was a lot less risky. There was no doubt TNG was tame even for the era, DS9 was a bit bolder, but not by much. I know Star Trek has been billed as ‘family friendly’ for a long time, but what is family friendly today often includes gay characters so why not? We’ll have to see if they do something in one of the movies or if it gets another TV series this decade.

    • JT

      Yes, it was disappointing not to see a real gay character portrayed. However the guy who wrote the Tribbles episode did write one with a gay character in it, called “Blood and Fire” for STNG, but Paramount refused to make it. It has been reworked and made on the web series ST Phase II. Captain Kirk’s nephew is gay and gets himself assigned to the Enterprise so he can be near his lover and get married to him. You can see it online in two parts.

      http://www.startreknewvoyages.com/category/web-page/episodes/?orderby=title&order=desc

  • medaka

    George, that was wonderful. Thank you!

    And yeah, I always thought the name came from the Sulu Sea because it was in the middle there and sounded “Asian”, but I had no idea that Gene actually thought it through like that. Bravo!

  • vorpal

    Two things:

    1. I love George Takei: he is so well spoken, intelligent, funny, and good looking. If I live to be his age, I certainly hope to be even half as amazing as he is.

    2. I find it unfathomable that right-wing conservatives can hold awareness of the opposition to interracial marriage that was particularly rabid amongst the far-right back during this time, and often religiously based, and ignore that and actively deny patterns between it and their opposition to same-sex marriage. Completely astounding.

  • bkmn

    The man is a national treasure.

  • People4Humanity
    • People4Humanity

      • another_steve

        I’m curious… Why do you think the equation, in the public’s mind, of “progressive = atheist” is a good thing? As far as the LGBT movement goes, I can’t think of a worse, more destructive-for-the-movement equation.

        The adults at the helm of our organizations know that to be the case too. That’s why you never see or hear anti-religion or atheism rhetoric coming from them.

        Even “Americans United for Separation of Church and State,” an organization dedicated to the very important task of preventing the U.S. from morphing into a theocracy, doesn’t “applaud” or “advocate” atheism.

        I guarantee you, 100 percent, that the vast majority of LGBT people out there are not atheists, btw.

        • Mark

          I am atheist. Anyone who really knows me is aware of it. And, just as I wear no gay sleeve – I wear no atheist either. I figure if you have to advertise – you’re looking for validation.

        • John30013

          I think the reason this is notable is that many sports players make a show of their faith–perhaps not on the level of Tim Tebow, but many cross themselves, or look skyward, after a particular play, or thank their deity in post-game interviews.

          The default assumption is that sports players are religious. Among the population at large, the fastest growing “denomination” is “none/agnostic” (currently at about 22%, if I remember correctly). So the fact that a national league sports player (I don’t follow football closely enough to know whether Foster is a “big name” or not) has publicly declared his atheism is, in fact, “progressive”, in the sense of “expanding beyond the current norm”.

          I am an atheist, though as Mark says elsewhere, I don’t wear it on my sleeve. I also don’t denigrate anyone’s faith (or lack thereof), so long as they aren’t using that faith to deny me (or others) my civil rights and full participation in our society. I do criticize religious belief in general, and certain believers in particular, when they use their faith as a bludgeon to deny me my rights, or as a shield to defend otherwise immoral or illegal behavior (Josh Duggar) or hypocrisy (just about every major anti-gay figure out there).

          • another_steve

            “I also don’t denigrate anyone’s faith…”

            Kudos to you for that, my brother.

            That places you in the company of the perhaps ten or fifteen percent of people on this blog who do not routinely denigrate people of faith.

          • motordog

            While I can’t say I never take shots at religion, it’s never without just cause, either…in other words, if they didn’t start trouble, there wouldn’t be trouble. Live and let live is fine, as long as both sides agree to it.

          • another_steve

            I take shots at people who do harm in the name of their god or gods, but never indiscriminately at all people of faith.

            So I might say, “He’s a theofascist who’s cynically using Judaism as a weapon to harm others,” but I would never say “Judaism is a weapon designed to hurt others.”

          • Steven Leahy

            Absolutely – well put. My position too. There would be no controversy if they accepted things as they are and didn’t start shit.

        • John30013

          I find it interesting (telling, perhaps) that you assume P4H’s post implies that he posited the “equation” you supplied. His post did no such thing; you’ve essentially put words in his mouth (or through his keyboard…).

          • another_steve

            Fair enough.

            Perhaps P4H will explain for us in what sense he considers the headline “Arian Foster is “the anti-Tebow,” publicly declares himself an atheist” to be “good news.”

        • Schlukitz

          Source for that postulation, please.

        • While I am an atheist, I’m abet an odd one. I have zero belief in a supreme deity, and have no need for a sky parent to watch over me. However, I do see the spiritual side of nature, including humans. Everything has a spark of the divine, and I live my life trying not to hurt others or to be a wanton consumer of nature.

          • another_steve

            “Everything has a spark of the divine, and I live my life trying not to hurt others or to be a wanton consumer of nature.”

            And there, in a nutshell, is the Sublime Wisdom inherent in all religion. In all human attempts to transcend the ordinary and live the extra-ordinary.

            You know, biki, mystics throughout the ages have articulated, after long and arduous life journeys, exactly what you have apparently found.

            Peace to you, my friend. πŸ˜‰

          • thank you my friend, thank you

        • Steven Leahy

          I am agnostic/atheist and I think it means most of us want to see some level of proof before we choose to believe in something. I think we REALLY have a hard time with bigoted philosophies that are based on a whole bunch of nothing and that defy any sort of logic.

          I think religionists’ hateful positions towards people they don’t like as well as the need to control everything IS driving many people and a hell of a lot of LGBT’s towards atheism.

          Most of us were brought up with religion, remember, and made the choice to leave it.

          • another_steve

            Hear ya, Steven.

            So I am not a theist myself but I think I grok what it is that motivates good-willed religious people. And there are many of them, you know. Many many straight and LGBT good-willed religious people.

            It is wrong to indiscriminately condemn a person because s/he is LGBT.

            It is wrong to indiscriminately condemn a person because s/he is religious.

          • Steven Leahy

            See what you mean in a sense Steve but here is the difference: LGBT people do not have a doctrine that vilifies religion.

            Religions (at least the abrahamic ones) do have in their doctrine, at least how it’s commonly interpreted, to vilify living openly and fully as an LGBT person.

            No getting around that.

          • another_steve

            “Religions (at least the abrahamic ones) do have in their doctrine, at least how it’s commonly interpreted, to vilify living openly and fully as an LGBT person.”

            Though I am not a theist myself, Steven, through marriage I’m intricately tied into the progressive LGBT religious movement. My hubbie is a mover and shaker there.

            So what LGBT people of faith are able to do (a manifestation of ‘grace,’ as I understand that concept) is transcend the occasional horrid and hateful words in their scripture, and return to the core.

            I am philosophically (not religiously) daoist in outlook. Any fellow philosophical daoist sisters and brothers reading here will understand the concept of “returning to the core.”

            So these good-willed people of faith understand that their scriptures were written by frail, imperfect human beings. Just as we, the readers, are frail and imperfect. Some of it, they got right. Some of it, they got wrong.

            Philosophical daoists like to say, “Sometimes things are easy. Sometimes things are hard.”

            Or perhaps, “Sometimes we frail humans get it right. Sometimes we get it wrong.”

            πŸ˜‰

          • Homo Erectus

            Amen, brother.

        • People4Humanity

          The guy is being fiercely honest. I admire that.

    • Great article, thanks for the link. Its nice to see a football player being a positive influence rather than a negative one.

    • Stev84

      A ridiculous headline. Tebow constantly made a huge show out of his religion. Foster doesn’t do the same about his atheism.

      • People4Humanity

        It would be challenging to make a big show of atheism.
        There’s nothing there.

  • Michael Rush

    Although groundbreaking Nichelle Nichols almost got written out of the show for the interracial kiss scene ( outrage from tv viewers ) , i really enjoyed her comments at the women’s stories site ” Makers ‘

    http://www.makers.com/nichelle-nichols

  • Gustav2

    One of my favorite episodes:

    • leastyebejudged

      This episode was hugely influential.

  • Reality.Bites

    No one is complaining about the lack of LGBT inclusion in a 1960s TV show. It’s the lack of inclusion in all the movies and TV shows in the five decades since.

  • ColdCountry

    It’s amazing how far we’ve come, on all levels. What wonders the future will hold.

  • SockMikey

    Long-Suppressed Gay Star Trek Episode (Blood and Fire) Comes Out
    http://io9.com/5113745/long-suppressed-gay-star-trek-episode-comes-out

    David Gerrold, famous for writing the “Trouble with Tribbles” Star Trek episode, also wrote an episode that included gay characters – but it was shot down by Paramount. Now you can watch it online.

    ***

    “Blood and Fire” is an episode written by David Gerrold for possible use on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The script was commissioned and written, but never actually filmed. According to Gerrold, some of the production staff, including Rick Berman, had a negative reaction to its positive depiction of an openly gay couple. Herbert Wright rewrote the script under the name “Blood and Ice”, which also was left unproduced.

    It was eventually adapted by Gerrold into a standalone novel and later filmed as an episode of the fan- series Star Trek: New Voyages.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWWR9z71CFI

    • John30013

      And while it’s not horrible, two things:
      1) Nephew Kirk (gay) spends too much time whining.
      2) His gay fiance dies (heroically, but still…) at the end (much like the other original show episode (“Balance of Terror”) featuring a couple about to be marriedβ€”one of whom dies at the end of the show).

  • Rick Zajac

    On Star Trek Deep Space 9 you can have a relationship with another being that isn’t even your own species, as long as one is a female and the other a male. There was one episode with a somewhat lesbian theme but only because the characters involved had been previously married in another life, so to speak, and the current Trill symbiont was now a woman. But out gay men? Not a hint. I have found Dukat to be oddly attractive in a weird kind of way. Maybe it’s the shoulders……

    • Leo Tallant

      I actually thought the actor was a bit more attractive as Gul Macet in the TNG episode “The Wounded”.

      https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5acaaae229fdb5b0a49869d76c939fdcb79b2f874f288c4c0b05756f4d8d5681.png

      • Rick Zajac

        Actually, now that I think about it, Odo could become a lawn mower.

    • skeptical_inquirer

      Yes, I am rather disappointed that the franchise hasn’t just slipped in a same sex pairing by now.

      I found Garak to be the most fascinating character on the show though Kai Wynn was a fascinating portrait of someone in a series-long downward spiral.

      • Circ09

        Garak was coded as such an old time-y gay caricature that it got on my nerves. It was a lucky thing the actor was so good.

        • skeptical_inquirer

          I think what made me interested in him was his messed up relationship with his dad, complicated by the strong implication that the family servant was his mom, and how he basically had to compartmentalize his life from a very early age. The fact that his dad and later he himself was in the spy business just made things even more complicated.

    • Circ09

      That “somewhat lesbian themed” episode of Deep Space Nine was not aired first run on the local affiliate here in Dallas at the time. I think it was still called UPN? Don’t remember for sure as it was over 20 years ago. One very tame kiss is all it took to get banned from the airwaves over a lot of the country back then. I got the episode boot-leg VHS from a friend out in LA and spread it around campus. It did eventually air in re-runs though.

      Beverly Crusher also fell in love with a Trill on TNG. She had no problems shagging Riker silly (temporarily joined with the symbiot) but engaging in a relationship with the new female Trill host was a bridge too far. I had a crush on ol’ Bev so it was disappointing to me at the time that she is so very straight and narrow.

      But these are all very old shows. Trek LGBT representation still sucks. And saying the dude that died in First Contact had a boyfriend mentioned in some Trek books doesn’t count as representation, even though some Trek apologists keep trying to say so.

      • Steven Leahy

        Channel 21? I used to watch that when Ilved there. πŸ˜‰

  • Schlukitz

    George Takai is such an articulate spoksman for the LGBt community.

  • BeaverTales

    American TV still caters mainly to the preferences of racists. It’s usually cited as the main reason (40 years after Star Trek) TV shows featuring interracial relationships often torpedo during their first season. ….large swaths of the South and many other areas simply refuse to tune in.

    The same will happen to LGBT shows that are expected to draw a nationwide audience. That media battle is one of the best next steps on our journey for civil rights.

    • Steven Leahy

      Unfortunately I think you’re right. We’re just not there yet. Not sure if we will be in the next 30 years.

    • Homo Erectus

      Will and Grace, although stereotypical, had a long run and generally depicted gays as the guys next door. Queer as Folk stayed on the air for 5 years. I was surprised that it made it through the first season. The 6 hour mini-series “Angel in America” helped to attach a human face to a horrible epidemic and it helped to elicit support and sympathy from families that were previously afraid of gay people.

  • BudClark

    Dear Mr. Takei,

    You are SUCH a treasure!

    Live long and prosper!

    Hugs,

    Bud-in-the-CA-desert

  • rednekokie

    I yearn for the day that our politicians have as much insight and compassion as George Takei. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever live that long.